The New England Small College Athletic Conference finally made a move that’s been discussed for decades. This season, NESCAC football teams will play a nine-game schedule, with each school playing every other team. In the past, each team skipped one league opponent and played only eight games.

Bowdoin Coach JB Wells said a nine-game schedule was being discussed 30 years ago, when he was recruited by Trinity.

“The addition of a ninth game in the NESCAC is remarkable,” Wells said.

For Colby, the addition of a ninth game means the Mules will open the season at defending conference champion Trinity on Sept. 16. Colby Coach Jonathan Michaeles said his team erupted in cheers when news of the new schedule broke.

“As soon as that hit, you could hear the roar come out of the weight room,” Michaeles said.

Bates is the defending champion of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin series. The Bobcats return all their skill players on offense, Coach Mark Harriman said, as well as several key offensive linemen.

“We have six guys, all with varsity experience, on the line,” Harriman said. “We feel good about those six guys.”

HUSSON, the defending Eastern Collegiate Football Conference champion, will play a tough nonconference schedule. That’s by design, Coach Gabby Price said.

“We want to be a New England team and play in New England. We certainly have great respect for teams we played, going out to New York, but we’re a New England school,” Price said.

Among the nonconference games this fall are road trips to Western New England, which eliminated the Eagles in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs last season, and Endicott, which will become one of Husson’s conference rivals in 2019 when the Eagles join the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

The Eagles open ECFC play Oct. 7 at home against SUNY-Maritime.

While Husson prepares for a move to a new conference in two years, Maine Maritime is moving this fall. The Mariners were a founding member of the New England Football Conference, but that league has disbanded. MMA is joining the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference, which is adding football for the first time.

“It’s a pretty good conference. We’re excited to play in the NEWMAC,” MMA Coach Chris McKenney said.

Among the teams the Mariners will face in their new league are old NEFC foes MIT and Coast Guard. McKenney said he’s eager to begin new rivalries with Springfield, Catholic, WPI, the Merchant Marine Academy and Norwich.